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Saturday, October 16, 2010

A New Marketing Demographic, or Those Bathtubs With the Doors on the Side are Looking Pretty Good These Days

There are many ways by which I judge how quickly I am aging.

Here are just a few of my many criteria, in case you’re heading in that direction yourself.

Can I identify music created after I graduated from high school?

Do I still have all my own teeth?

Has the AARP sent me anything expressing concern regarding how well I’m planning for my retirement?

Do I see myself being attracted to the suspiciously frisky-looking “middle-aged” men touting the prescription drugs that have put the “fun” back in erectile dysfunction?


But I’ve come to recognize something else, something I’d not considered before but that seems to have dropped me into another demographic.

Don’t tell my parents, but I ordered labels yesterday.

What? A grown woman can’t order labels?! All the other adults get to order labels!

But like the disdain my mother has for the paper towel, I suspect she may harbor the same feelings for labels.

“What? You can’t write your own address? What are you, feeble? Gettin’ old, Pearl? Want me to do that for you?”

All right! All right! So I ordered address labels! It’s not like I bought disposable plastic cups or paper plates!

And yes, I could avoid all this by paying my bills on line, thus ending an era of bill-paying through the mail. I suspect that I am among the last of those paying by actually writing checks and mailing them anyway.

Problem is, I need to write it down. I need to subtract. I need to feel that I have more control over my money than I actually do.

And dagnab it, people, someone’s got to keep the mailmen working! I just cannot be responsible for packs of wild mailmen roaming our streets, slinging catalogs at stray dogs.

And I am happy with my labels. Why write your home address over and over when you can peel off a label?

But you know what comes with your labels?

Advertisements. Advertisements for more labels.

I find this peculiar. How could they not know that I am flush with labels, now that they’ve shipped me 500 of them?

Along with the labels that I ordered, I received the following:

• Twenty – yes, 20 – separate advertisements for more labels
• Three advertisements for personalized pet collars
• A ‘Love’s Journey” birthstone ring for only four easy payments of $24.75. As if these “easy payments” are not enough to entice you to buy jewelry by flyer, it comes with a “Certificate of Authenticity”. What, exactly, is authentic we have no way of knowing. Not the gemstones, which they assure us are “100% colored crystal”. Perhaps the authenticity refers to the fact that it’s a genuine ring and entirely circular?
• A chance for me to “display your love and support for our country and for those who serve it with our Military Emblem Address Labels and Mugs”. No where here does it mention any of the proceeds from your purchase going to an organization “supporting” the troops – so I’m not sure how drinking hot cocoa out of an Air Force mug will help the troops – but okay! If you’re sure! Oooh, and look here. I can have it personalized. The product shown is made out for “Col. Thomas Lancaster”. I’ve wanted to be a high-ranking military person ever since I first saw this flyer. “Staff Sergeant Pearl”. What do you think? It says “I’m stern, but I’m fun”. No? What about “World’s Greatest General”?
• And, of course, the piece de resistance, an offer from the AARP for $15,000 in life insurance once I hit 50. Apparently there’s “no obligation”, which is kind of a relief. Whew!

I feel vaguely threatened by these flyers, although I can’t exactly put my finger on the “why” of it.

All I wanted were address labels. And now, I’m faced with thoughts of stray pets, genuinely authentic rings, the military finding out that I haven’t supported them through the purchase of a personalized coffee mug, and my own mortality.

Sheesh but life’s complicated, isn’t it?

33 comments:

Stav88os said...

Interesting Bro!;)

savannah said...

i like the idea of labels, but i still write with a fountain pen. so hand addressing just gives me more of an opportunity to use my chicken scratch, but with style, more often. xoxoxox

Camille said...

Holy hockey pucks! I'm old...OLD I tell you! I slid neatly into 100% of the criteria you mentioned. Hey, thanks Pearlie girl. I may have to rethink my hair style and forego ordering up another vat of Dippity doo to use with my soup can hair rollers.

Barb said...

Very true but oh, so funny!

jenn said...

I'm all about the labels, but I got mine printed with my name before my husband's just to piss off my in-laws. Apparently, I'm all about the passive-agressive, too.

Flea said...

But ... but ... but the March of dimes sends me free labels. And when I moved four years ago the realtor gave me labels. He made our last name possessive, but still ...

I've only recently begun buying paper towels, but only one roll at a time. And I refuse to use paper napkins. White cloth napkins for us. Well, mustard, ketchup, spaghetti sauce stained cloth napkins for us.

WrathofDawn said...

Up here on the tundra a charity in support of research for a nasty disease, the thought of which terrifies strong men, sends out labels FREE OF CHARGE with a request that you donate. No pressure.

But if you DO donate, WATCH OUT! Once they realize they have a live one on the line, they will insist, nay DEMAND, that you continue to donate, even suggesting the "correct" amount. People will call you. Aggressive people.

I had such fun telling them off.

They never offered me a genuine, entirely circular ring, though. Damn.

Georgina Dollface said...

That reminds me that I can't really remember the last time I mailed something to someone that didn't already come with it's own label and window envelope that displayed your return address in just the right place. I pay all my bills online but I refuse to get online bills. I must, must, must have a disorderly pile of paper on my desk at all times to feel like I'm staying on top of my household finances.
I've thought about those bathtubs with doors, and how they might feel like a mini hot tub, but then again, I think I'd freeze to death waiting for the water to drain before I could open the door, get out and put a towel on. - G

Dave said...

Staff Sergeant Pearl hits the spot for me.

Golden To Silver Val said...

I have labels coming out of my ears. Once you donate to an organization...and some to whom you don't....they send you labels as a "thank you". If I ever move, I'm in deep doo doo. And since I'm one of those who pay bills online...I'll never use all these labels up. I was thinking of using them to paper my kitchen walls. At least it would be unique, as well as redundant.....sort of an oxymoron. And, yes....I LOVE Staff Sergeant Pearl. That mug is a must!

Vintage Christine said...

I print my own labels so I can be creative with fonts and little characters themed to the season. The only other pre-printed address labels I used are from the Southern Poverty Law Center (I actually donate money to them on a regular basis because they are AWESOME). I wanted to get my mother one of those step-in, sit-down bathtubs but my husband pointed out that you have to sit there, possibly catching pneumonia, while the water drains. I suppose you could leap over the side but anyone who needs a step-in sit-down bathtub is way beyond the leaping stage.

Simply Suthern said...

I can handle the mail stuff. It's the State Troopers that I feel a bit threatened by when I turn them down for a donation. I had a stretch in my younger years where I single handedly funded several law enforcement agencies thank you.

Toomuchtime said...

Man, this is something that concerned me for so long... we are aging, because nobody gives a shit about children anymore...

Madame DeFarge said...

As long as you remember the right address to put on them, you're okay. And as long as you don't need them to find your own way home, you're still okay.

Sweet Cheeks said...

Hey, I just mailed you something yesterday...and I'll be a monkey's uncle...I used an address label!

I'm thinking 'Generalisimo Pearl'...because you lovah the salsa so much.
=]

KathyA said...

I print my own!

Canadianbloggergirl said...

Don't feel bad, I had labels when I was 24 years old which helped out at xmas time when I send the yearly cards! I love them!

CBG
canadianbloggergirl.blogspot.com

Gregory said...

You really do have this writing thing down to a science, don't you....
that was too funny

alwaysinthebackrow said...

My husband still insists on paying bills by mail, because he doesn't trust computers and he likes to have a little file with papers in it to show what has been paid. I just feel lucky that someone else is paying those bills.

When Muzak is playing the rap in elevators, you will know that you are officially old, my dear.

Shannon Green said...

Every time I order labels, we move...which can be a good thing because if I get tired of where we're living all I have to do is buy address labels.

Gigi said...

well darn, had I known what kind of wonders were being offered to me in those flyers I might have actually looked at them instead of throwing them out. I really would like one of them certified authentic circular rings.

Linda Myers said...

When I get labels in the mail accompanied by a request for money, and I don't send money, I feel guilty about using the labels. But I use them anyway.

nick said...

I don't know. Locking yourself in a closed container, slowing filling up with water - not sure it's a good idea for young folks, let alone seniors.

Fred Miller said...

I started hitting modern maturity when I was about six. I was at a campground in Arizona and this BYOOTiful Hispanic woman with bulbous cleavage started talking to me at the water fountain. Called me "Federico". I have been attracted to older women ever since.

Tempo said...

I suggest going for something with 'Quartermaster' on it Pearl...they get access to all the good stuff.
...and 'no obligation' when it comes to insurance meens they have no obligation should you ask them to pay out...

lunamother said...

Thanks. 100% on your Old Person criteria fit me.

You, however, used the words "dagnab it" conversationally- making you much older than I am.

How do ya like THEM apples?

Jhon Baker said...

another reason I am happy that my laziness led me to buy a stamp with my address. So lazy that I got one with just my name and another with my wife's name after a clever ampersand. smashing something on an envelope is much more fulfilling than peel and stick.

EcoGrrl said...

i have no guilt in that when i left home at 17 the first thing i did was order labels to feel more grown up - back in the days when people still wrote letters to each other. now? i use the free ones that aspca and amnesty send no matter how many years you go without donating. do i feel guilty? again, hell no.

Symdaddy said...

Your article paled in my eyes at the very moment I read the words "dagnab it".

It brought back floods of memories of my childhood ... images of Deputy Dawg and Musky, Walter Brennan westerns and the Beverly Hillbillies (although Jed Clampett would never drop a "dagnab it" into a sentence. Jethro would, but not Jed ... never Jed!) distracted me as I read your article.

Don't worry Pearl! I did re-read it without a nostalgia attack a little later.

There is only one criteria (a critey?) needed for judging when a man is 'getting old' and it is simple ...

... if his 'bells' hang lower than his 'rope', he is old!

Luckily I do not fall into that category ... yet!

As for labels?

I have 'em on all my clothes! 's why I never get lost!

River said...

Ditch the labels and get a rubber stamp made, much more fun.

white rabbit said...

Yikes! You have 500 bills to pay? :O

Sausage Fingers said...

Pearl, sounds like one day closer to living in the sunshine state! Florida leads the nation in both address labels and ED prescription sales, let me know if you need any brochures.
good luck.

Gaston Studio said...

Oh don't worry about the mailman Pearl, he's got so much junk to deliver, he'll never be out of a job; and even when you request not to receive said junk mail, it's going to be at least a year before they get the message and then they spend the next 6 months trying to convince you to resubscribe.

I use labels too but I get them from contributing to Paralyzed Vets of America and have way more than I could ever use.